When you are greeted with “Welcome” are some of these the responses you find rising up in you? The feeling of being accepted, embraced, received with gladness or delight?
Living in a nation that is not your own accentuates the inner need for feeling this “Welcome.” You are away from family and things that are familiar. Rejection, or just feeling on the outside of things, can be so easy to experience. You are an “outsider” to the culture and customs. You are the “outsider” to the language (even if you know it well, it’s not your mother tongue). You are the “outsider” to the history. You can’t depend on your “natural” responses to be the correct responses because this nation is not your norm. Their culture is not your norm. In this situation, there is a need to learn to feel comfortable with the uncomfortable.
So when there is this sense of WELCOME, that can be HUGE in the life of an expat.
Why are you welcome? I have found it is not so much because there is absolute agreement on things or that you do everything right within the cultural context. No, the WELCOME comes as a gesture of kindness. It comes with compassion. It comes in spite of the differences and challenges. It comes because we are human, and each life is valued and honored. It comes because we each need community. We need love and acceptance.
And then, when this WELCOME has been given to us. We need to stop and be aware of the valuable gift that has been given to us. We have been gladly received into someone’s presence, home, or group. We have not only been permitted and admitted, we have been willingly embraced by another. Cherish the gift that has been given to you…then give it forward to another.
Cindy writes about her adventures, observations, and other nuggets from living in another nation. She and John live in SE Asia. She will also share nuggets from her 58 plus years of life.